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Old 01 January 2017, 22:05   #1
Pat the Cat
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Oops. I could have sworn I'd posted already.

Thank you all for a wonderful site.

I used to be a Technical Editor on Amiga Format, which was a combined privalege and nightmare. About 90-early 92, I think. Which meant I didn't get to review demos, arcade games, commercial graphics or music apps, and had to answer technical questions one day a week over the phone (so did the other folks). Also responsible for the Coverfloppy, and all inherent errors and flaws in terms of composition apart from game demos. They either sucked or they didn't. Nobody ever dared let me review a network card, for the carnage that could have been wrought (Future Publishing was heavily ethernet dependent even then). Apart from that, I had to review 95% of the toys either handed or sourced directly by me.

Were Amiga Format ratings (AF Gold) ever biased in favour of advertisers? WELL... if it happened, maybe uniquely (I only know of ONE time), it was for the simple reason that Amigas of the time would not be able to run the application (non game) very well, but an accelerated Amiga would run it perfectly. Which isn't really unfair, I guess. I didn't think it quite rated (89) and I was told that it was going to be upgraded to an AF Gold. Tough. And as one adveriser put it, "A Format Gold is a Product Sold".

Haven't powered any up for a few years but still got bits of kit ready to be resurrected.

Hoping I can make some further small contributions. Looking ahead, rather than behind.
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Old 02 January 2017, 02:18   #2
crazyc
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Hello and welcome!

Sent from my S7 Edge
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Old 02 January 2017, 05:06   #3
TroyWilkins
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Hi and welcome! Pretty cool to have you on board here. I used to wish I was in the UK, as it seemed to me that there were so many more people who used Amigas compared to the seemingly few that I knew of here in Australia. I'd love to hear more about your experiences working at AF, how did the people feel about the "opposition", such as CU Amiga for example, I seem to remember there being some rivalry there, which I could never determine how serious or friendly it was, but perhaps that was more after your time there?
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Old 02 January 2017, 06:52   #4
Pat the Cat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TroyWilkins View Post
Hi and welcome! Pretty cool to have you on board here. I used to wish I was in the UK, as it seemed to me that there were so many more people who used Amigas compared to the seemingly few that I knew of here in Australia. I'd love to hear more about your experiences working at AF, how did the people feel about the "opposition", such as CU Amiga for example, I seem to remember there being some rivalry there, which I could never determine how serious or friendly it was, but perhaps that was more after your time there?
Well, gosh. That's kind of big ask for one post...

... I guess my closest work buddy was Trenton Webb. He later helped with Zeewolf and other, with a few of the other team members. I stopped by once or twice to say hi. His view on it was, "it's tribalism Pat. Us against the other Future mags inhouse. Us with the other Future Mags and friends* against the other magazines." Something like that, anyway.

* (and READERS, of course... most everybody read something from the place before working there).

Trent started opposite me on Amstrad Action, so I guess that's why I feel I was closest to him, when I worked there. I think I made a few enemies there. Shook hands afterwards with most if not all of that few. "Rival" more than "enemy", maybe.

I seem to recall Nick Veitch took over as Tech Ed from me, on AF, and he was headhunted from a rival publishing group (might have been CU Amiga, can't remember), so it wasn't like people didn't flow from one group of publishers to another. There was less rivalry, and frankly, drama, from the editorial side than the advertising side. They were the more flamboyant ones, generally. With a few exceptions.

Next in terms of flamboyance would the "crayons". The artists. Some carried scalpels. Most of them were still using them when I was there, because the colour flatbed scanner hadn't really arrived. I remember downloading a Mac Scanner driver via an Amiga on dialup, transAtlantic, for Dr D to use. A5 size scanner, mind you. Took too attempts, nearly 2 hours. Copied onto PC floppy and handed it to him, scanner fired up in 3 seconds. Future didn't look back from there, but it would have happened anyway sooner or later without me doing it at the time.

I was a "scribbler", a writer. Tech Ed carried weird responsibilies, but also a huge amount of freedom of choice and action in some respects. Most of it was listening to requests, saying "can't be done", and telling them how maybe 24 or 48 hours later. Not all magazines carried Tech Eds. Compartmentalization was frowned upon, mostly, if you wanted to see anybody, you went and knocked on the door. Throughout the company. Only Chris Anderson, the founder, had any kind of minimal buffering, and he was the best boss I've ever worked for. I first met him soon after buying and reading AA issue 1, his major startng point.

I guess you could say Amiga Shopper and Amiga Power were kind of Amiga Format cloned into seperate areas, double sales from the same source. There was kind of a rivalry there, but friendly. The mags had enough of their own style, if not a great dissimilarity in advertising. Adam Waring did great stuff there on Shopper, and he started at Future taking over from at Tech Ed on Amstrad Action. I think I got on pretty well with all the Campbells at future. Even the Scottish ones, Stuart and his brother, who did such outstanding work on Power. So maybe it wasn't as "tribal" in the sense you might think. (McDonalds and Campbells are traditional Scottish clan enemies, have a history of vendetta and feuding, but nothing like it in my time there at Future Publishing).

Yeah, the PC mags really raked in the adverts. We raked in the readers. Our crew. My crew. We were honest, and we did silly hours for not that much money (Bath is not a cheap location) but had big and little breaks too. Dave Haynie has written about realising where Commodore and the Amiga were headed in 1991, and I guess I kind of worked it out about then, or a bit later. Somebody bought up the 68050, and the A4000 never got a DSP. But there you go, CBM made way too many bad decisions, and the market kind of flowed away from them, for many reasons.

Anyway, I stopped because I couldn't do it anymore. Killer work, the press. Always critical, was turning me way too cynical.

EDIT: Oh, I remember. Dennis the Menace. It was a court case, so yes, I guess you could say the rivalry was pretty serious, but it was kind of a silly affair from beginning to end. Case dismissed, thank you M'lud.

Last edited by Pat the Cat; 02 January 2017 at 10:56.
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Old 02 January 2017, 08:23   #5
LieutLaww
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Welcome ! ahhh I have fond memories of Amiga Format, but I also read most of the other Amiga mags as well.
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Old 02 January 2017, 09:45   #6
Bastich
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Hello and welcome
Interesting read
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Old 02 January 2017, 10:57   #7
TroyWilkins
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Oh wow, I wasn't expecting such a big response, but I really do appreciate the insight, thank you. I remember seeing "Amiga Format" being referred to as "An Eager Doormat", but I can't remember where, and in any case, this was most certainly after your time there. I certainly enjoyed purchasing and reading Amiga Format, as well as most of the other mags, until they all stopped being published.

Anyway, what bits of kit do you still have?
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Old 02 January 2017, 11:13   #8
Pat the Cat
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In various forms of disgrace; (vanilla hardware)

A1200, 3, Surf Squrrel, VIDI PCMCIA, PCMCIA network cards (various)

A500 1.2, C501 RAM (Boo! Hiss), A570 CD-ROM / SCSI controller

Other bits of generic kit like floppiess and sound samplers. I'm planing on recasing them, got PSUs.

Nothing that impressive on it's own. But, I'm finishing up a 3D scanner to help make some more publicly downloadable 3D models for 3D printed Amga parts, hopefully within the next few days.

Software

Lots of old floppies. Maybe 3-10 commercial titles not available Aminet or other sources. But they're very, very niche.

2-3 hard drives carefully awaiting backup and upload (old A3000 dev system containing unreleased PD demos for OCS / ECS / accelerators. Needs sound sampler attached to operate.

Same software is also on floppy, it's about 20-22 different floppy sets, but it's mostly interchangable between Amigas. It almost certainly will break on an emulator or post Amiga Technologes machines, as it's merciless and totally dirty, nasty code. Might be OK on Minimig or similar.

Classic miggy's love it. I used to walk into places with a mobile unit, demo it working, get hired to perform. Nightclubs, free parties, that sort of thing. Mostly I'd gig for free to get in the door, but sometimes I'd earn some cash.

I didn't just use my own material for VJing with the the Amiga, I'd run other demos as well. But, my stuff was popular with the DJs.

You could sync the output from the mixing desk into the sampler. Or via a microphone. The colour strobed animated displays (and there was a selection) would keep autosync to the music. Actually to the audio.)

Live. Not in a studio. Works in a studio too, of course.

Even if the magnetic media is all screwed (shouldn't be) I've still the code for my dems on hard copy. It's not a very big main loop. Half a K or so.

The demos are still pretty large, as they each contain a set of uncompressed bitmaps. Not all of them colour strobe.

The ones that have strobing have so so far caused no epilectic seizures, despite being demostrated to thousands of people over the years. Indeed, I started off by asking various epilectic friends to examine the effect.

I've also done a few remastering attempts at a handful of old top Amiga Tunes. Got them online somewhere, at least. Mostly D N B, trance, House, and of course, Jesus on Ees. I'll see if I can dig out a link.

Last edited by Pat the Cat; 02 January 2017 at 12:03.
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Old 08 January 2017, 23:33   #9
trixster
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I subscribed to both Amiga Format and Amiga Power back in the day. Amazing mags which I miss to this day. Welcome Pat, thanks for taking the time to post up your memories.
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Old 18 January 2017, 14:06   #10
LuMan
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Hi Pat. Interesting history you've got there. And a local, too. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 18 January 2017, 14:52   #11
Pat the Cat
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I'm actually an undercover Scouse offiicer of the Rastafarian Navy, but you could never tell just by meeting me in a pub. Thanks mon.

Christmas dinner from a few years back, I'm sure you recognize the lunatic fringe when you see them. Or the lunacy involved, anyway.

I'm on the left. There's a sort of "extra/missing hand" with this photo.

We had poached salmon and lots of other nice things. Well, technically it was smoked/grilled salmon, but as a cat, I can catergorically state... it was poached, as well.
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